Troy Patton suspended 25 games
, RP, BAL
Major League Baseball has suspended Orioles pitcher Troy Patton
25 games for testing positive for amphetamines. He went 2-0 with a 3.70 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 42:16 K:BB ratio in 56 innings with the Orioles last season and will serve his suspension at the beginning of next season.
John Axford deal becomes final
, RP, CLE
The Indians finalized their one-year, $4.5 million deal with right-hander John Axford
Thursday. Axford is expected to serve as closer, a role he had for the Brewers to begin last season before losing it to Jim Henderson.
Axford finished last season with a 4.02 ERA, 1.52 WHIP and 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings but was a different pitcher after going to the Cardinals in a late-August trade, posting a 1.69 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 19 appearances between the regular season and the playoffs.
Rangers re-sign Johan Yan
, RP, TEX
The Rangers have re-signed pitcher Johan Yan
to a minor-league contract
, ESPN Dallas reports. Yan, a converted infielder, went 2-2 with a 4.68 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 53:21 K:BB ratio in 57 2/3 innings with Triple-A Round Rock last season.
Nate Jones not a given to emerge as White Sox's closer
, RP, CHW
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn and pitching coach Don Cooper are going to wait to name a successor to Addison Reed as the team's closer, but according to MLB.com, one reliever who is expected to be considered is Nate Jones
Though Jones' fastball has reached into the triple digits and he struck out 89 batters in 78 innings in 2013, Hahn and Cooper are reluctant to hand the ninth-inning role over to him or any other candidate at this time. Cooper explained the team's approach to identifying a closer, saying, "The bullpen usually figures itself out. They will show you in terms of who needs to pitch in this inning or that inning. I'm not concerned about it."
The closer's role became vacant when the team traded Reed to the Diamondbacks for third baseman Matt Davidson on Monday.
ESPN.com reports that Rangers reliever Tanner Scheppers
has been working towards becoming a starter this offseason. He will compete for the fifth starter's spot in the spring, though Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said that Scheppers' odds of making the rotation are not strong.
Scheppers told ESPN.com he prefers starting to the setup role he occupied in 2013, but he would most prefer to serve as the team's closer.
Jose Veras signs one-year deal to close for Cubs
, RP, DET
The Cubs have agreed to terms
with reliever Jose Veras
on a one-year, $4 million contract on Tuesday, according to a report from ESPN Deportes.
Veras owned a 3.02 ERA with 21 saves over 62 2/3 innings last season between the Astros and the Tigers. He is expected to close
for the Cubs, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.
Charlie Furbush avoids arbitration, signs with M's
, RP, SEA
The Mariners and reliever Charlie Furbush avoided arbitration
on Tuesday, agreeing to a one-year, $750,000 deal, according to Yahoo! Sports. Furbush went 2-6 and posted a 3.74 ERA over 65 innings of work last season.
Jose Valverde has not signed with Diamondbacks
, RP, DET
Contrary to an earlier report by CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman, reliever Jose Valverde
has not signed with the Diamondbacks.
Valverde has talked with the club about a potential role, but nothing has been finalized. Valverde had a 5.59 ERA in 19 1/3 innings with the Tigers last season.
Steve Johnson working to get healthy
, RP, BAL
Orioles pitcher Steve Johnson
is working to get healthy this offseason, according to MASN.
Johnson dealt with a number of injuries last season, which forced him to get a late start on the year. He's been participating in workouts at Camden Yards in order to get in better shape. The team has an opening in the rotation, but Johnson said he would be happy with any role that allows him to pitch in the majors. He posted a 7.47 ERA in 15 2/3 innings last season.
Bruce Rondon's role to be determined in spring
, RP, DET
The Detroit Free Press
reports that Tigers manager Brad Ausmus wants to wait until spring training
to determine whether Bruce Rondon
will be his setup man for closer Joe Nathan. Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters earlier this month that he hopes Rondon can step into the setup role.
Ausmus told the Free Press, "I have not laid eyes on Bruce Rondon. I like people in the pen knowing where they slot in. I wouldn’t make that final decision without seeing Bruce throw."
Rondon is working his way back from an elbow injury, and he has started playing catch. Dombrowski expects that Rondon will be ready for spring training.